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Preparation and resources are crucial components in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, Northwell Health Dr. Leonardo Huertas said Wednesday, predicting that the New York City hospital system will soon need more personnel and equipment, such as ventilators.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends” with hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade, the Long Island doctor said that every day under the threat of the pandemic it gets a little busier and patients come in a little sicker.
“The caseload is increasing, but we are able to handle what we have gotten in so far,” he stated. “We are a large system with a lot of capabilities of spreading out patients when certain hospitals get overwhelmed. So, so far we have been able to handle what we can see.”
However, the virus has not loosened its chokehold on New York City. As of Tuesday evening, there were over 75,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New York State – or over 40 percent of total cases in the United States – with over 43,000 in New York City alone.
Huertas told the “Friends” hosts that what New York City needs right now is resources and staffing.
“We need personnel. Right now we need more ICUs. In order to staff those ICUs we need nurses, we need doctors, we need [technicians], we need respiratory therapists, and we need [ventilators]. If you gave me those personnel and equipment, then we could handle a lot more patients,” he urged.
Huertas added that, depending on the case, it could sometimes take literally 20 people to take care of one patient for a 24-hour period.
“[There are] just certain people [who] are more susceptible than others,” he explained. “And, those with preexisting conditions, those that are older, those with preexisting lung damage, tend to have a rocky course.”
That said, Huertas believes other communities across the country are able to make a “bigger difference” by looking ahead.
“New York right now — the course we have is the course we are already on. There is no way to change us. But there are certain communities that have yet to be affected by this virus where testing is important, quarantining those people is important, and mitigating those factors as much as possible [is] important,” he stated.
“You need to prepare teams for outside the hospital so when you have to surge up your ICUs you have teams that can come into the hospital and staff those places,” he urged. “So, all the retired nurses, all the doctors that are in communities need to affiliate themselves with hospitals so they can provide help for their communities.”